I was lucky; my Dad came home. He’s still there for me today.
I missed the draft by a year; we got a supplemental number just in case. It wasn’t about your heritage or religion, the draft violated you by your birthday. Like the lottery from hell, they would pick a calendar day from one bucket and a lottery number from another. The lower the number, the closer to the top of the list you were; people with number one would be the first called to serve.
I got number two.
I guess that’s ironic, because I think I almost shit myself when I heard that announcement over the radio. But they never needed to draft anyone from my year, so I never had to decide whether to become a Canadian or not. Some of my older friends did. Some served with pride and dignity. Some never came home.
I guess Memorial Day is like Christmas; a holiday where people forget the original intention. Yes, there are sales in all the stores, and celebrations and road trips where families get together. Yes, there are cookouts instead of Christmas dinner. But Christmas is more than a fat man in a red suit. And Memorial Day is more than a backyard grill and a tub of beer.
Because of brave man and women no longer with us, we have that grill and tub of beer…and the ability to relax and enjoy it.